Q&A with Author Mandy Eve-Barnett
Q: What was the first book you wrote and published?
There are two answers to this question. My children’s picture book entitled Rumble’s First Scare was my first venture into publishing in 2011. It propelled me into sharing my stories. I have since published eight more books, covering several genres and aimed at children, young adult and adult audiences.
As for the first book I wrote that would be Life in Slake Patch. It was my initial foray into National Novel Writing month in 2009. Prior to that I practiced writing with prompts resulting in only short stories. Plunging into NaNoWriMo my main characters Evan and Kate guided me through the narrative as I panicked with each day’s word count. The manuscript went through multiple revisions over many years as I developed my skill and was eventually published in 2018.
Q: When did you get started as a writer?
I came to write later in life by way of a chanced upon writing group’s meeting notice at my local library. I decided to give this new creative outlet a go, after all I had tried many others in my life. I quickly became obsessed with the freedom to create whatever sparked my muse. Since then I have been making up for ‘lost’ time in this incredible world of make believe. I have found it to be all encompassing and enjoyable.
Q: How did your careers help inspire you with your novel?
I think all life experience, whether work or play, contributes to a writer’s process and output. As for my working life, it has helped me be organized, committed and know the importance of a deadline. I have drawn from my interests in English history, reincarnation, the wonder of nature and the magic of fairy folk in my narratives and to some extent my past nursing career.
Q: Did you always see yourself as a writer?
Absolutely not! I have been creative in many mediums during my life. Visual art was my first love, including paint, clay and collage. Writing was a new discovery aided by my membership into a fabulous writing group, the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County. Without their encouragement and support I would not be writing let alone published.
Q: How many projects do you have planned for the future?
Currently I am in the midst of writing the second book in a detective/crime trilogy. I have several other ‘draft’ manuscripts waiting in the wings, including a cowgirl romance, a psycho-suspense, and a contemporary romance. Some may see the light of day, others not. It all depends if an idea pops into my head and demands more of my attention. For example, the trilogy came to me as a fully formed series, when I was struggling to think of a project for last year’s National Novel Writing month. I find this the exciting part of writing, not knowing what comes next in terms of a story.
Q: What three words would you use to describe your writing style?
What an interesting question. The quick answer is unexpected, unique and worldbuilding. As with most of my writing I don’t fall into a specific bracket.
If you are referring to my actual process, it is free flow. I let the characters lead me through the story, as it appears as a movie in my head. Until I began my current trilogy I waited until the editing process to revise continuity, structure etc. However, I learnt how to plan a three-book plot arc with my current project. I love exploring genres and there is always an unexpected twist in my stories.
Q: What advice would you give to fellow writers of the same genre?
As I am a multi-genre author that is a loaded question. I would say if you work in multiple genres, look at each story and find similarities between them. Use that as the starting point for your marketing and branding. After I did this exercise, I found that love was the main theme of my stories, whether the love of a person, animal, place or the world around us. Love is fundamental to us all.
Q: What themes can readers find in your speculative fiction novel, Life in Slake Patch?
There are three main themes in this novel:
Man vs Society
The narrative explores life in a matriarchal society from the viewpoint of a young man living within its structure. How expectations form a society, and how we live within it.
The consequences of rebelling against societal rules and how justice is used to maintain the law.
Pursuit of Love
Unique struggles are encountered within this separated society to find love.
Q: Tell us, readers, about the characters we will meet in Life in Slake Path.
The main protagonist is Evan, a young blonde, muscular man living within an all-male compound. He abides by the matriarchal society and its rules but dreams of exploring further than his regime allows. When he meets his tryst, Kate, his perceptions change in regard to the rules governing their time together. Kate is a member of the ruling authority and knows her place and what that entails. She is strong minded but also longs to embrace a relationship and its benefits. When she meets Evan their relationship develops and alters her comprehension of the society and how they live within it. When a group of young men led by an opinionated anarchist, Aiden, attack the ruling body in what they perceive as a graocracy, Evan becomes embroiled in the struggle between following the law and his own wants and desires.
Q: Where can readers find you and your books online?
All my books can be found on any online purchase site, including Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble. Also, directly from my publisher, Dream Write Publishing.
The easiest way to find me and everything to do with my books and writing life is on my website – www.mandyevebarnett.com